Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 11th.

The anniversary of September 11th always finds me quiet, this year, even more so. For the whole of the day and the next, I have had a large, painful lump in my throat. Five years can seem such a long time and yet an instant. Anyone with children, or close to them, will relate. A lifetime, gone in a flash.

I didn't know any of those who perished, but knew of some near misses. But every morning on my way to work, for weeks, I could see the smoking wreckage from the platform of the Number 7 train at Queensboro Plaza. Some days, depending on the wind direction, I could smell it. And every day I offered up a prayer for those living and those not.

My sense of grief is more diffuse than those personally involved, to be certain. It is also tinged with a profound sense of regret. I was so completely stunned, I did nothing at all. Not a thing. I didn't join the thousands who expressed their gratitude or encouragement to first responders. I didn't donate socks or water. I didn't visit a firehouse. I didn't even visit the site until December of 2005 when out of town relatives wanted to see it. By then it was relatively antiseptic. The more powerful place to visit was St. Paul's Chapel, where the pews are still boot scuffed.

It wasn't because I didn't want to go downtown. I just couldn't face it by myself. My husband could not face it, period. With someone or alone, he just could not, and I had to honor that. He still has not actually gone down to the place where the towers stood. It truly breaks his heart.

This year, as last, I missed Peter Jennings’ commentary on September 11th. He brought it to me first. His voice and raw emotion that sometimes slipped through gave one to know the sheer magnitude of the day. So much grief. Such a huge sadness. Lives and innocence lost. That must be it. Things that are unrecoverable, that ring with such a finality, bring about the most profound grief. Some days it is shown as anger, fear, resentment or resignation. On the anniversary, though, we are reminded that what we are is simply bereft. That, perhaps, we have not yet cried the last tear for our beloved city, those beautiful towers, and every one of us changed.


1 comment:

eastcoastdweller said...

Rebecca, please keep this poignant, beautiful post somewhere close at hand where You can always find it.

Of memories such as these is history made, both of events joyous and events tragic.